Senate to Clinton Administration: End Flat HIV Prevention Funding
September 2, 1998
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"The prevention increase sends a strong bi-partisan message to the Clinton Administration that future flat-funding will not be tolerated," said Daniel Zingale, AIDS Action's executive director. "We need to treat prevention like the vaccine we so desperately crave. But the Senate failed to send a similar message about programs for those already infected."
The Senate Labor-HHS Appropriation Subcommittee's approved $3.81 billion for AIDS research, treatment and prevention, including $68 million in increases for Ryan White funding for Fiscal Year 1999. This figure is almost $100 million less than the President's request and almost $115 million less than what was passed by the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee.
The subcommittee's action would bring total prevention funding in FY99 to $631.7 million, $6.8 million more than FY98 and nearly $10 million more than what President Clinton requested. While this increase falls far short of what's necessary for a reinvigorated HIV prevention effort, it nonetheless sends a strong message to President Clinton to end flat funding in FY2000 budget.
AIDS Action has made HIV prevention a top priority. On July 21, AIDS Action launched the Virtual Vaccine, a ten-point plan for reinvigorated HIV prevention. Included in the plan are a twenty-five percent increase in funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, treatment on request to help stem the twin epidemics of substance abuse and AIDS, a national effort for better access to rapid HIV testing and creation of a Web site featuring anonymous E-mail, prevention counselors, condom ads on television programs rated "S" for sexual content and a national testing referral database.
"While HIV infection rates race ahead, national leadership is standing in place," said Daniel Zingale, AIDS Action's executive director. "If we had a medical vaccine, forces would be mobilized to deploy it. Today we have a virtual vaccine, prevention, and those forces are paralyzed. During roughly the same two years during which HIV infection rates have increased, federal prevention funding has remained flat, and no bold prevention initiatives have been proposed by the Clinton Administration."
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.